By Shadia B. Drury (auth.)
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So much so, that the term nature came to be used as a synonym to what is good and wholesome in contradistinction to the artificial, conventional and unwholesome. 3 But society cherishes its traditions and conventions because it believes them to have a divine origin, to have been founded by gods or sons of gods, or men to whom God has spoken directly. Strauss therefore identifies the ancestral with the divine code; so much so that he uses the two terms interchangeably. 4 Philosophy therefore presupposes doubt of authority, not only human, but divine.
Strauss describes Farabi's view of morality as 'shocking'. 58 However, he commends him for expressing this shocking 'truth' with the utmost caution and restraint. By carefully unpacking the meaning of his terms, Strauss reveals to us part of his meaning. He notes that each of the words 'virtue', 'nobility' and 'happiness' has two meanings. There is true or real virtue, nobility and happiness, and apparent virtue, nobility and happiness. 59 The morally virtuous life is not the life of true virtue, nobility and happiness; it leads only to 'apparent happiness'.
They must 'justify philosophy to non-philosophers, to ordinary citizens, to the political community'. 24 Strauss tells us that 'they must follow the example of Odysseus'. 25 He leaves us in the dark as to what the example of Odysseus entails. Should they blind Polyphemus, the one-eyed cyclops? Apparently not. In another book, Strauss tells us that Odysseus was a 'safe speaker'. 26 There, he explains that a safe speaker conceals the truth from the many while revealing it to the few. 27 This is the 'deeper meaning' of 'political philosophy': 24 The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss the adjective 'political' in the expression 'political philosophy' designates not so much a subject matter as a manner of treatment; from this point of view, I say, 'political philosophy' means primarily not the philosophic treatment of politics, but the political, or popular, treatment of philosophy, or the political introduction to philosophy - the attempt to lead qualified citizens, or rather their qualified sons, from the political to the philosophic life.
The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss by Shadia B. Drury (auth.)